Plato's Republic

Better Essays
Plato's Republic

Plato, one of the most ingenious and powerful thinkers in Western philosophy, born around 425 B.C. Plato investigated a wide range of topics. Dominant among his ideas is an immense discourse called The Republic. The main focus of Plato is a perfect society. He outlines a utopian society, out of his disapproval for the tension of political life. Plato lived through the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC), in which much of Greece was devastated. This created poverty and political confusion and corruption. Therefore, Plato created a sketch of a society in which the problems he thought were present would be eased. Essentially, The Republic deals with the question of justice and therefore with the questions "what is a just state?" and "who is a just individual?"

Plato defines justice as mental health (harmonious whole) where each part has a function. Just like the senses -- each sensory organ is excellent if it performs its function, as the eye sees, the ear hears. Therefore, people are happy if they perform the tasks assigned to them by nature. This is the fundamental notion for his creation of an ideal city. It seems that everyone has a specific role to follow depending upon their abilities, both physically and mentally. What this means is that only a certain type of people have the capacity to hold an office, just as only a certain type of people have the ability to be farmers.

Therefore, justice only exists in a city when a division of labor takes place amongst its residents. The ideal city classifies people into what they do best. Those who have an arête (an excellence) for artistry would be artisans, or moneymakers, and those with the most reason- the philosophers- to guide the city's actions and perform ...

... middle of paper ...

..., it must come from everyone doing his assigned function under the excellent guidance of the ruling class. Plato sees the justice and law as what sets the guidelines for societal behavior. Plato, a political philosopher, was in the pursuit of philosophical truth and improving existing society.


Hacker, Andrew. 1961. Political Theory: Philosophy, Ideology, Science. New

York: Macmillan.

Macdonald, Cornford, F. 1945. The Republic of Plato. London, Oxford New York: Oxford University Press.

Ostenfeld, Nis, E.1998. Essays on Plato's Republic. Oxford: Aarhus University Press.

Sesonoke, A. 1966. Plato's Republic: Intrepratation and Criticism. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company Inc.

Von Laue, T., Perry, M., Jacob, M., Jacob, J., Chase, M. 2000. Western Civilization: Ideas, Politics & Society. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company
Get Access